Don't Blame the Business Traveler, Blame the Tools
There have been several studies recently that have blamed "poor traveler adoption and unwillingness to change" as key challenges in implementing successful end-to-end corporate travel programmes.
While they've uncovered the symptoms -- namely lack of traveler adoption --, they incorrectly identify the cause as travelers’ unwillingness to change. It's not about the traveler's willingness to change; it's about providing them with a platform that delivers on the same ease of use, convenience, and instant gratification they experience in their consumer lives -- a platform they want to use because they love it.
So what does it take to convert business travelers into lovers?
From our work helping more than 3,000 customers implement corporate travel programs, here's what we've uncovered from customer feedback as the biggest impediments to implementing a successful corporate travel program:
Lack of inventory: Users won't feel compelled to leave the corporate travel booking tool if it includes all of the inventory they need and want, at the best prices, and which enables them to earn loyalty rewards from their favorite travel suppliers.
“I loved that everything we needed was built into TripActions as a complete enterprise solution,” explains Desene Sterling, Accounting Manager at Lime. “In particular, TripActions had all the inventory our travelers needed at the right price. In fact, hotel rates are often cheaper than what we could find outside their platform.”
The booking tool doesn't know them: Travelers will use a tool that knows and understands their needs and preferences, increasingly gets better and smarter every time they use it, and as a result presents inventory in context based on their profile and past booking behavior.
Kevin Hong, Senior Financial Analyst for TripActions customer Branch, sums it up succinctly, “Simply put, our old corporate travel system was a hassle for everyone to use, and we in Finance could not, in good conscience, ask people to use it.”
“Trying to book on the fly was pretty difficult, simply because the overall experience wasn’t great,” echoed Tae Kim, Head of East Coast Sales at Branch. “I dreaded taking trips, not because of the customers, but because our corporate travel booking tool was so difficult to use.”
The travel agency doesn't take care of them: When travelers experience the value of the corporate travel platform, from a world-class booking experience through to feeling well cared for during the travel itself with proactive support from real travel agents, they'll continue to use it. If they don’t get a high level of support and great service, they won’t.
“I think the peace of mind that comes from knowing my travelers are only a few seconds away from chatting with an amazing support team is the biggest benefit,” explained Kevin from Branch. “We have a ridiculously quick response time from online chat, and they never give us cookie-cutter responses. All support team members I’ve chatted with are extremely capable individuals.”
“The ability to pop open an app and have a TripActions travel agent change or fix something for me while I’m in a meeting with a prospect has saved countless hours,” said Mike Ramirez, Director Enterprise Sales at Looker.
“I remember I was working in Toronto and I got a call at 6 AM from a traveler who was stuck in Newark and slept at the airport overnight,” Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s (CZI) Strategic Operations Manager Penelope Talbot-Kelly said from stage at TRAVERSE 19. “While I appreciate travel not going according to plan, it’s nice to know that the majority of people using TripActions actually enjoy it.”
It truly is not about the traveler's unwillingness to change, but rather the lack of compelling reasons to change from legacy corporate travel platforms who miss the mark on most if not all three of the above elements needed for the successful implementation of a corporate travel programme.
Business travelers are hungry for change and will happily adopt their company’s preferred corporate business travel solution if it provides them with the same ease of use, convenience, and great experience that they expect from the rest of the (consumer) apps on their mobile devices. TripActions makes that happen -- and makes it simple for corporate travel managers, finance leaders, operations heads, and HR professionals to implement.